Don’t look for the perpetual reference to “mom” in the name of this restaurant. The allusion is elsewhere, and above all, the Italians do not, from time to time, permanently refer to their mother. No, here we are talking about sourdough and pizza dough. Sourdough is said lievito madre, pasta madre is there to evoke the specialty of this atypical pizzeria, sourdough pizzas. Located in the slightly under-construction area of Place Rouppe, this restaurant had a bit of a rocky start.
Located on the ground floor of the Hotel La Grande Cloche, a beautiful address tastefully and boldly taken over by the hotel entrepreneur Fabian Henrion, this restaurant had a good start with a team that had left Bologna to develop this concept in Brussels. Alas, the Italian team quickly felt nostalgic for the country and returned to the arches of the city of San Petronio while success was there.
The good fairies who looked into the cradle of this project (Jean Van Roy from the Cantillon brewery, Jean Hummler from Moeder Lambic and Noé Leloup, all lovers of quality fermented products, it seems harmless, but it is the key to this address) spat in each other’s hands to relaunch the project with an almost new team, except for one of the pizza aioli who stayed in Belgium and guaranteed the know-how. I had discovered the address with enthusiasm in 2019, I was looking forward to taking Florence there (and my daughters for the occasion) to see if even “without the Italians from the start” it would still hold water. Pasta Madre, I seem to insist on citing the name of this address, but the fermentation processes are at the heart of the process here. And we know that the magic of bread and beer is precisely the fruit of fermentation, this process perfectly explained for more than 150 years by Louis Pasteur and which, however, is still so difficult to master as soon as we want to make quality.
What do we eat there?
At first the menu was a bit all over the place, sometimes with shrimp croquettes, but in the meantime the team has refocused the restaurant on the initial pitch, namely the fermentation, in the glass and on the plate. You can have fun with one antipasto de buffalo and salami (mozzarella and sausage, €10) or crudo and stracciatella (speed ham and creamy mozzarella, €11), but we prefer to go straight to the pizzas. The menu offers suggested pizzas, vegetarian, traditional and gourmet pizzas. Two words about the term “gourmet pizza”. It has been a true fashion, trend, even Italian passion for ten years. The gourmet pizza, whose name I want to say right away, is about as annoying as the concept of bistronomy, it is a pizza that must be perfect in its dough and its rise, the same in cooking and decorated with noble, even daring ingredients, and above all served in cut portions so everyone can taste them, even if it means scrolling through several pizzas at the table to “taste”.
In short, we shared pizzas! divine porcello (€16), taken from the “gourmet” list, to Florence, with a magnificent Italian cooked ham, barely melted mozzarella, layered straight from the oven and basil oil; Paccatelle (€14) for the Giulia, mainly composed of these pacatelle, tomato fillets from Vesuvius (and mozzarella, of course), Amatriciana (€15), taken from the list of traditional, for me: tomato, pancetta, pecorino romano as in romaine sauce of the same name, a real gourmet and surprisingly light pizza that you dig in to the end. And finally a Culatello for Chiara (a gourmet for €16). Gourmet pizzas are really taking a turn that takes us away from the usual world of pizza, and especially from Neapolitan pizzas, which have developed terribly in Belgium in recent years. This is especially the case with this one Culatello, whose dough is cooked through, delicious in taste and literally acts as a support for a filling that is almost all put down afterwards. The noble culatello (the cream from the ham) cannot be destroyed by cooking, the same goes for the stracciatella, and you can feel the light and sweet blessing of a last-minute fifrelin with lemon zest.
In the glasses? Florence is at the height of the citron usually caused by wild yeasts. We use the “Belgian spritz” to start (Venetian selection and Cantillon bitters) and continue with an honest plain Valpolicella at €32. The list of craft beers on tap is perfect and you can have fun with great vintages of Cantillon beers available in 75cl bottles. We will return with Jules de Flo, very happy with the genre. A dessert for four? An excellent Birramisù for €6 that you destroy in ten seconds.
In pictures you can discover our menu:
In conclusion, I find a Pasta Madre that is still as coherent, although less sophisticated, the service is a little overwhelmed, but we know that today it is a constant encountered almost everywhere, the pizzas may seem expensive, but in the end, ( a lot) eat well for four for less than €150, it becomes very rare andLast but not leastwe can never say it enough, but properly fermented products, craft beers and sourdough pizzas, are digested with the same grace as a heron flying over the ponds of Ixelles.
The address? 10 place Rouppe, 1000 Brussels. No reservation. Collection and delivery. T. 0418.104.22.168, pastamadre.be
Don’t miss more lifestyle news on sosoir.lesoir.be and sign up now for our themed newsletters by clicking here.